Text: H.R.4208 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (11/15/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 4208


To create the income security conditions and family supports needed to ensure permanency for the Nation’s unaccompanied youth, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 15, 2007

Ms. Berkley (for herself, Mr. Hinojosa, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Ellison, and Mr. Conyers) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means


A BILL

To create the income security conditions and family supports needed to ensure permanency for the Nation’s unaccompanied youth, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; etc.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act of 2007”.

(b) Table of contents.—


Sec. 1. Short title; etc.

Sec. 101. Curtailment of involuntary separation of children from their families.

Sec. 102. Unaccompanied youth access to the child welfare system.

Sec. 103. Discharge from child welfare system.

Sec. 201. Eligibility for foster care maintenance payments and adoption assistance payments through age 20.

Sec. 202. Improvements to John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.

Sec. 301. TANF State plan amendment.

Sec. 302. Adult-supervised living arrangements.

Sec. 303. Suspension of time limit for young adult parent involved in education or training.

Sec. 304. Transitional compliance.

Sec. 305. Sanction protections for minor parents.

Sec. 306. Teen parent study and report.

Sec. 401. Inclusion of homeless youth as qualified population for Work Opportunity Credit.

SEC. 101. Curtailment of involuntary separation of children from their families.

Section 471(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)) is amended—

(1) by striking “and” at the end of paragraph (26);

(2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (27) and inserting “; and”; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(28) provide that the State shall have in effect such laws and procedures as are necessary to ensure that—

“(A) a child may not be placed in foster care under the responsibility of the State solely because the family with which the child is living is homeless (as defined in paragraph (2) of section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a)) or living in substandard housing (as defined in section 204(b)(11) of the National Housing Act) or a dwelling unit that is experiencing severe physical problems (as defined in subparagraph (F) of such section); and

“(B) the State will work with the family and State housing authorities to secure permanent housing for any family that includes a minor child and is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.”.

SEC. 102. Unaccompanied youth access to the child welfare system.

Within 12 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the policies and practices of the States regarding (1) access to child welfare services (including services related to foster care and adoption) financed pursuant to part B or E of title IV of the Social Security Act, by children who have attained 13 years of age, (2) and consideration of runaway and homeless situations as risk assessment factors for determining the appropriateness of placement in the child welfare system. The report shall include an inventory of the policies and practices, an assessment of the effectiveness of the policies and practices, and such recommendations for Federal or State legislative or regulatory action as may be appropriate.

SEC. 103. Discharge from child welfare system.

(a) State Plans Required To Describe State Policies and Procedures Regarding Runaway or Missing Foster Children.—Section 471(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)), as amended by sections 104(a) and 111(a)(3) of this Act, is amended—

(1) by striking “and” at the end of paragraph (28);

(2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (29) and inserting “; and”; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(30) describes the written policies and procedures of the State that are designed to reduce the incidence of children missing or running away from foster care, and to locate and return such children to foster placements.”.

(b) Judicial Review of Permanency Plan for Child Leaving Foster Care.—Section 475(5)(C) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 675(5)(C)) is amended—

(1) by striking “and (iii)” and inserting “(iii)”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following: “and (iv) procedural safeguards shall be applied to assure that the final permanency hearing regarding the transition of the child from foster care to a planned, permanent living arrangement or independent living is held in a family or juvenile court or another court (including a tribal court) of competent jurisdiction;”.

(c) Review of Steps Taken To Ensure Appropriate Housing for Children Leaving Foster Care.—Section 475(5)(C)(iii) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 675(5)(C)(iii)) is amended by inserting “, and reviews all documentation of the efforts to secure a permanent living arrangement for the child upon emancipation from foster care” before the semicolon.

(d) Modification of Case Plan Requirements.—Section 475(1)(D) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 675(1)(D)) is amended to read as follows:

“(D) Where appropriate, for a child who has attained 14 years of age (and, at State option, any other child), a written description of the programs and services that will facilitate the transition of the child from foster care to independent living, including a discussion of the appropriateness of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan. The plan for these youth shall also include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to esnure a permanent placement with a family or other adult connection for the youth, and a permanent living arrangement. In the case of a child who has attained 17 years of age or with a permanency goal of emancipation, the plan shall include documentation of the child's permanent living arrangement upon emancipation.”.

SEC. 201. Eligibility for foster care maintenance payments and adoption assistance payments through age 20.

(a) Foster Care Maintenance Payments.—Section 472 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 672) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)—

(A) by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

“(1) ELIGIBILITY.—Each State with a plan approved under this part shall make foster care maintenance payments on behalf of—

“(A) each child who has been removed from the home of a relative specified in section 406(a) (as in effect on July 16, 1996) into foster care if the removal and foster care placement met, and the placement continues to meet, the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection; and

“(B) each child who is an individual described in subsection (j)(2) of this section who has entered foster care under the responsibility of the State if the foster care placement met and continues to meet the requirements of paragraph (3) of this subsection.”;

(B) in the paragraph heading of paragraph (2) by inserting “applicable to minors” after “requirements”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(3) FOSTER CARE PLACEMENT REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO CHILDREN WHO HAVE ATTAINED THE AGE OF MAJORITY.—The foster care placement of a child who is an individual described in subsection (j)(2) meets the requirements of this paragraph if—

“(A) the foster care placement is in accordance with a voluntary placement agreement entered into by the individual;

“(B) the individual’s placement and care meet the requirement of paragraph (2)(B) of this subsection; and

“(C)(i) the individual has been placed in a foster family home, child-care institution, or dwelling described in subsection (b)(3)(C); or

“(ii) the individual has secured a dwelling described in subsection (b)(3)(D).”;

(2) in subsection (b)—

(A) by striking “or” at the end of paragraph (1);

(B) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (2) and inserting “, or”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(3) in the case of a child who is an individual described in subsection (j)(2) of this section—

“(A) in a home described in paragraph (1), in accordance with the payment rules set forth in paragraph (1);

“(B) in an institution described in paragraph (2), in accordance with the payment rules set forth in paragraph (2);

“(C) in a dwelling operated by an agency that provides social services to children and their families which supplements, supports, or substitutes parental care and supervision for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and that meets such standards for licensure or approval as are established by the State for the provision of the services, whether the payments therefor are made to the agency or directly to the individual; or

“(D) in housing rented or leased by the individual.”;

(3) in subsection (e), by inserting “minor” before “child who”;

(4) in subsection (f)—

(A) in paragraph (1)—

(i) by striking “a minor” and inserting “a child”; and

(ii) by striking “the minor” and inserting “the child (or, if the child has attained 18 years of age, the child himself or herself)”; and

(B) in paragraph (2)—

(i) by striking “a minor child” and inserting “a child (or, if the child has attained 18 years of age, the child himself or herself)”; and

(ii) by inserting “(if the child is a minor)” after “obligations of the parents or guardians”; and

(5) by adding at the end the following:

“(j) In this section, the term ‘child’ means—

“(1) a minor child; and

“(2) an individual who—

“(A) has not attained 21 years of age; and

“(B) has been emancipated from foster care under the responsibility of the State by reason of attaining the age of majority.”.

(b) Adoption Assistance Payments.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 473(a)(1)(A) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 673(a)(1)(A)) is amended by inserting “who have not attained 21 years of age” before the period.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Section 473(a)(4)(A) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 673(a)(4)(A)) is amended by striking “the age of eighteen” and all that follows through “twenty-one” and inserting “21 years of age”.

(c) Conforming Amendment.—Section 474(a)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 674(a)(1)) is amended by striking “under section 472 for children in foster family homes or child-care institutions” and inserting “in accordance with section 472”.

SEC. 202. Improvements to John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.

(a) Increase in Annual Authorization Level.—Section 477(h)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677(h)(1)) is amended by striking “$140,000,000” and inserting “$200,000,000”.

(b) Expansion of Eligibility for Services.—Section 477 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)—

(A) in paragraph (1), by striking “18” and inserting “14”; and

(B) in paragraph (5), by striking “between 18 and 21” and inserting “who have attained 18 years of age, and who have not attained 25 years of age”;

(2) in each of subsections (b)(3)(A) and (b)(3)(B), by striking “21” and inserting “25”;

(3) in subsection (i)—

(A) in paragraph (2), by striking “youths adopted from foster care after attaining age 16” and inserting “youths in or exiting from foster care after attaining 14 years of age”; and

(B) by striking paragraph (3) and redesignating paragraphs (4) through (6) as paragraphs (3) through (5), respectively.

(c) Authority To Use Program Funds To Provide Independent Living Services and Education and Training Vouchers for Children Who Exit Foster Care to Guardianship or Adoption After Age 14.—

(1) INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES.—Section 477(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(a)) is amended—

(A) by striking “and” at the end of paragraph (5);

(B) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (6) and inserting “; and”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(7) to provide the services referred to in this subsection to children who, after attaining 14 years of age, have left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption.”.

(2) EDUCATION AND TRAINING VOUCHERS.—Section 477(i)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(i)(2)) is amended by striking “from foster care after attaining age 16” and inserting “or entering kinship guardianship from foster care after attaining 14 years of age”.

(d) Eligibility of Private Service Providers for Funds.—Section 477(b)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(b)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(G) Distribute funds provided to the State under this section among a diverse range of qualified providers of services that are private entities, and ensure that the entities have equal opportunity to receive the funds.”.

(e) Expansion of Program Evaluations.—Section 477(g)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(g)(1)) is amended—

(1) in the 1st sentence, by inserting “, and of model programs that focus on improving outcomes for youth aging out of care in the areas of education, employment, personal development, and housing” after “significance”;

(2) in the 2nd sentence, by striking “and personal development” and inserting “mental and physical health, personal development, and housing, and on the use of room and board services and how the use of the services improve housing outcomes for youth.”; and

(3) in the 3rd sentence, by inserting “, where practicable,” before “random assignment”.

(f) Improving Awareness of Available Services.—

(1) DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY.—Section 477 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(j) Distribution of Information About Other Related Programs.—To improve access to the array of services available to youth transitioning out of foster care and assist States in leveraging available resources, the Secretary shall provide for the efficient distribution to States and local areas of information about Federal programs, other than the program established by this section, that may assist youth in their transition to self-sufficiency and provide guidance on how to access services under the programs.”.

(2) DUTIES OF THE STATE.—Section 477(b)(3) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(b)(3)) is amended—

(A) by redesignating subparagraphs (H) through (J) as subparagraphs (I) through (K), respectively; and

(B) by inserting after subparagraph (F) the following:

“(G) A certification by the chief executive officer that, when or before a child leaves foster care under the responsibility of the State, the State will inform the child of the full range of available financial, housing, counseling, health, public benefit employment, and education services, and other appropriate support and services for which the child is eligible.”.

SEC. 301. TANF State plan amendment.

Section 402(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 602(a)(1)(A)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(vii) Identify the education and training, living arrangement, and other services needs of individuals described in section 408(a)(5)(B)(ii) who are potentially eligible to receive assistance under the State program funded under this part and establish policies, procedures, and strategies to address the needs.”.

SEC. 302. Adult-supervised living arrangements.

Section 408(a)(5)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 608(a)(5)(B)) is amended—

(1) by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:

    “(i) PROVISION OF ADULT-SUPERVISED LIVING ARRANGEMENT.—In the case of an individual who is described in clause (ii), the State agency referred to in section 402(a)(4) shall provide or ensure the provision of a second chance home, maternity group home, transitional living youth project, or other appropriate adult-supervised supportive living arrangement, taking into consideration the needs, concerns, and wishes of the individual, unless the State agency determines that the individual’s current living arrangement is appropriate, and therefore, shall require that the individual and the minor child referred to in subparagraph (A)(ii)(II) reside in such living arrangement as a condition of the continued receipt of assistance under the State program funded under this part attributable to funds provided by the Federal Government (or in an alternative appropriate arrangement, should circumstances change and the current arrangement cease to be appropriate).”;

(2) in clause (ii)—

(A) by redesignating subclauses (III) and (IV) as subclauses (V) and (VI), respectively; and

(B) by inserting after subclause (II) the following:

“(III) the individual is a homeless youth;

“(IV) the individual is a street youth;”;

(3) by redesignating clause (iii) as clause (vi) and inserting after clause (ii) the following:

    “(iii) DISCLOSURE OF ADULT-SUPERVISED LIVING ARRANGEMENT OPTIONS TO INDIVIDUAL.—The State agency shall ensure that individuals described in subparagraph (A)(ii) who are applicants or recipients of assistance are fully informed of all adult-supervised living arrangement options that satisfy the requirement of this subsection, and provide the individual the opportunity to request a specific adult-supervised living arrangement.

    “(iv) DETERMINATION OF ADULT-SUPERVISED LIVING ARRANGEMENT.—In determining the appropriateness of the individual’s current living arrangement in clause (i) and considering the individual’s request for a specific adult-supervised living arrangement in clause (iii), the State agency shall provide a written explanation of the determination, including a statement regarding the right to appeal the determination under clause (v), to the individual, if the determination is other than the adult-supervised living arrangement requested by the individual.

    “(v) RIGHT TO APPEAL ADULT-SUPERVISED LIVING ARRANGEMENT.—If the State agency’s determination of appropriate adult-supervised living arrangement in clause (i) is other than the adult-supervised living arrangement requested by the individual in clause (iii), the individual shall have a right to appeal the State agency’s decision through appeal and dispute resolution mechanisms available in the State.”; and

(4) by adding at the end the following:

    “(vi) DEFINITIONS.—In this subparagraph:

    “(I) TRANSITIONAL LIVING YOUTH PROJECT.—The term ‘transitional living youth project’ has the same meaning as provided in section 387(6) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974.

    “(II) HOMELESS YOUTH.—The term ‘homeless youth’ has the same meaning as provided in section 387(3) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974.

    “(III) STREET YOUTH.—The term ‘street youth’ has the same meaning as provided in section 387(5) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974.”.

SEC. 303. Suspension of time limit for young adult parent involved in education or training.

Section 408(a)(7)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 608(a)(7)(B)) is amended—

(1) in the subparagraph heading, by striking “Minor child exception” and inserting “Age exceptions”; and

(2) by striking clauses (i) and (ii) and inserting the following:

    “(i) a minor child, and not the head of a household or married to the head of a household; or

    “(ii) was pregnant or a parent, and—

    “(I) had not attained 20 years of age, and was meeting all program requirements relating to education, training and living arrangements; or

    “(II) had attained 20 but not 21 years of age, and was scheduled to complete all program requirements relating to education or training.”.

SEC. 304. Transitional compliance.

Section 408(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 608(a)) is amended—

(1) in paragraph (4), by striking “if” and all that follows and inserting “if—

    “(A) the individual does not participate in—

    “(i) educational activities directed toward the attainment of a high school diploma or its equivalent; or

    “(ii) an alternative educational or training program that has been approved by the State; and

    “(B) 91 days have elapsed since the State has notified the individual that the individual is in violation of this paragraph.”; and

(2) in paragraph (5), by inserting “, and 91 days have elapsed since the State has notified the individual that the individual is in violation of this paragraph” before the period.

SEC. 305. Sanction protections for minor parents.

Section 408(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 608(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(12) A State to which a grant is made under section 403 of this Act shall not impose a sanction on a recipient of assistance under the State program funded under this part who is an individual described in paragraph (4) or (5)(B)(ii) of this subsection and whose household includes a minor who has received assistance under the State program funded under this part attributable to funds provided by the Federal Government or under the food stamp program, as defined in section 3(h) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977, unless the State has established procedures that help recipients of assistance under the State program funded under this part understand, avoid, or end sanctions, and has applied the procedures to the recipient.”.

SEC. 306. Teen parent study and report.

Section 413 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 613) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(k) Teen Parent Study and Report.—

“(1) STUDY OF TANF RECIPIENTS.—The Secretary shall conduct a study of recipients of assistance under State programs funded under this part who are parents and have not attained 20 years of age to determine the following:

“(A) Whether State data on the number of such recipients is accurately reflected in Federal data, including an examination of the extent to which such recipients who are members of a family are not reflected in the data, and an examination of the extent to which Federal estimation methods do not reflect the number of such recipients in a State.

“(B) What assessment procedures are utilized with such recipients, and whether there appear to be best practices that consider such issues as whether the recipient has an educational barrier such as a learning disability or mental health problem.

“(C) Whether localities appear to have adequate and appropriate services that meet the needs of such recipients in areas such as infant care, education, training, and mental health, for services such as appropriate housing, mental health, and alternative education, whether staff assist teen parents in researching and locating such services including an appropriate living arrangement, and the extent to which such recipients who have not completed high school or the equivalent are encouraged to engage in education or work.

“(D) How State rules providing that, in determining the eligibility of such recipients for such assistance, the income of the recipient is deemed to include the income of any parents with whom such recipient are living appear to have affected the extent to which such recipients who are members of a family with income less than 200 percent of the poverty line (as defined in section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, including any revision required by such section, applicable to a family of the size involved) are able to participate in State programs funded under this part.

“(E) Demographic information such as—

“(i) the age of such recipients;

“(ii) the amount of time such recipients received such assistance in a given year;

“(iii) the number of children that such recipients have;

“(iv) school attainment by such recipients, by age;

“(v) the employment status of such recipients, such as whether a recipient has ever worked or has worked while in school;

“(vi) the child care arrangements of such recipients; and

“(vii) the living arrangements of such recipients.

“(2) STUDY OF LOW-INCOME TEEN PARENTS WHO ARE NOT TANF RECIPIENTS.—The Secretary shall conduct a study of a representative sample of low-income (as determined by the Secretary) teen parents who are not recipients of assistance under a State program funded under this part, to determine the following:

“(A) Whether the teen parent sought to apply for such assistance.

“(B) Whether a teen parent who indicated to a State a desire to apply for such assistance received an application for such assistance.

“(C) Whether a teen parent who applied for such assistance was subsequently contacted by the State agency responsible for operating a State program funded under this part.

“(3) REPORT TO THE CONGRESS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Within 3 years after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress a report that contains the findings of the studies required by this subsection and recommendations regarding such issues as how to improve data reporting, State plans, State ‘best practice’ information sharing, and assessments.

“(B) ADVISORY GROUP.—The Secretary shall establish an advisory group consisting of representatives from organizations that work with parents who have not attained 20 years of age, to provide advice to the Secretary on questions relating to such parents that should be investigated and to provide comments to accompany the recommendations in the report required by subparagraph (A).”.

SEC. 401. Inclusion of homeless youth as qualified population for Work Opportunity Credit.

(a) In General.—Paragraph (1) of section 51(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking “or” at the end of subparagraph (H), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (I) and inserting “, or”, and adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

“(J) a qualified homeless youth.”.

(b) Qualified Homeless Youth.—Subsection (d) of section 51 of such Code is amended by redesignating paragraphs (11) through (13) as paragraphs (12) through (14), respectively, and by inserting after paragraph (10) the following new paragraph:

“(11) QUALIFIED HOMELESS YOUTH.—The term ‘qualified homeless youth’ means any individual who is certified by the designated local agency—

“(A) as having attained age 16 but not age 25 on the hiring date; and

“(B) as being described in paragraph (2) of section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a), as in effect on the date of the enactment of this paragraph, on the hiring date.”.

(c) Effective Date.—The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to individuals who begin work for the employer after the date of the enactment of this Act.